Skip to comments.Haditha Child: I Knew of Bomb Plot to Kill Marines
Posted on 06/03/2006 8:26:22 AM PDT by Carl/NewsMax
click here to read article
By Arwa Damon CNN
Wednesday, May 31, 2006; Posted: 9:02 p.m. EDT (01:02 GMT)
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- It actually took me a while to put all the pieces together -- that I know these guys, the U.S. Marines at the heart of the alleged massacre of Iraqi civilians in Haditha.
I don't know why it didn't register with me until now. It was only after scrolling through the tapes that we shot in Haditha last fall, and I found footage of some of the officers that had been relieved of their command, that it hit me.
I know the Marines that were operating in western al Anbar, from Husayba all the way to Haditha. I went on countless operations in 2005 up and down the Euphrates River Valley. I was pinned on rooftops with them in Ubeydi for hours taking incoming fire, and I've seen them not fire a shot back because they did not have positive identification on a target. (Watch a Marine's anguish over deaths -- 2:12)
I saw their horror when they thought that they finally had identified their target, fired a tank round that went through a wall and into a house filled with civilians. They then rushed to help the wounded -- remarkably no one was killed.
I was with them in Husayba as they went house to house in an area where insurgents would booby-trap doors, or lie in wait behind closed doors with an AK-47, basically on suicide missions, just waiting for the Marines to come through and open fire. There were civilians in the city as well, and the Marines were always keenly aware of that fact. How they didn't fire at shadows, not knowing what was waiting in each house, I don't know. But they didn't.
And I was with them in Haditha, a month before the alleged killings last November of some 24 Iraqi civilians.
I'm told that investigators now strongly suspect a rampage by a small number of Marines who snapped after one of their own was killed by a roadside bomb.
Haditha was full of IEDs. It seemed they were everywhere, like a minefield. In fact, the number of times that we were told that we were standing right on top of an IED minutes before it was found turned into a dark joke between my CNN team and me.
In fact, when we initially left to link up with the company that we were meant to be embedded with, the Humvee that I was in was hit by an IED. Another 2 inches and we would have been killed. Thankfully, no one was injured.
We missed the beginning of the operation, and ended up entering Haditha that evening. The city was empty of insurgents, or they had gone into hiding as they so often do, blending with the civilian population, waiting for U.S. and Iraqi forces to sweep through and then popping up again.
But this time, after this operation, the Marines and the Iraqi Army were not going to pull out, they were going to set up fixed bases.
Now, all these months later, while watching the tapes, I found a walk and talk with one of the company commanders that was relieved of his duty as a result of the Haditha probe.
After being hit by an IED, his men were searching the area and found a massive weapons cache in a mosque. Although it wasn't his company that we were embedded with, the Marines had taken me to the mosque so we could get footage of the cache.
And so began the e-mails and phone calls between myself and my two other CNN crew members, Jennifer Eccleston and Gabe Ramirez: Do you remember when we were talking with the battalion commander and his intel guy right outside the school and then half an hour later they found an IED in that spot? Do you remember when we were sitting chatting with them at the school? And all the other "do you remember whens."
There was also -- can you believe it? -- the allegations of the Haditha probe.
Thanks for re-posting this piece.
It's refreshing to read a journalist with an open mind who reports what she saw and heard.
From CNN, no less.
The one thing which I have not noticed in any of the threads is that this is happening during Primary Election time. Are they not trying to affect our elections again as Bin Looney tried to do during the 2004 elections?
Hi Tex...thanks for the ping...I read that yesterday, I think.......Isn't this something else?.....what does your son have to say about this?.....it's getting closer for my son to leave and now I'm more upset than ever...
I read an article within the last six months that was about an interview that a Western journalist got with a higher up in Hamas..
The article said that the young child of the Hamas leader was in the room next to him the whole time...and that it was normal for the children of these terrorist groups to keep their children close..in case of a set up by the reporter..
The KNOW the people in the west are very against killing children.
Also, remember a few years ago...the Jenin "massacre"? The massacre that never happened??
I have no problem believing this was a set up...but, I just cannot believe that these Marines killed little kids while they were in a prayer position by blowing their heads off...nope, you can't convince me of that.
Concur, not even Oliver Stone would touch that..
Neighbors/other household families in the area probably knew what was being plotted...hence the Marines going to other houses.
I'm not sure I would TRUST anything out of these Muslims mouths.......they LIE...it's a big part of their culture.
M-A, you, your son and your family are all in my prayers. There is no need for anyone to tell you not to be upset, because it is the natural, human thing to do.
May God be with them and all of us.
Thank you TexKat...your prayers are very much appreciated......I just feel that our troops lives are going to be that much harder over there....this will cause needless hesitation, therefore getting our troops killed....Enjoy your time with your son, give him a big hug from me...
"We had a heated argument," he said.
He said the U.S. officers also said during the meeting that they had no objection to TV news teams visiting the Euphrates River town to report on the deaths.
"In reality, they did not make good on their promises and sealed off the town for a month after the shootings," said Rsayef, who had a brother and sister-in-law, an uncle, an aunt and several cousins among the 24 killed.
Despite blaming insurgents for the killings, the U.S. military gave the families $2,500 for each person killed in the incident about a month later, except for four brothers, all of fighting age, he said.
"When I received the compensation money, I found out that it was $2,500 for each victim," Rsayef said. "I told them that it's a small sum that does not match the magnitude of the disaster."
He noted that Libya's government paid millions of dollars in compensation to the families of the Lockerbie airline bombing victims. "Is American blood worth more than Iraqi blood?" he asked.
Problems like Haditha should be dealt with by pulling back the questioned troops to rear areas until the end of the war. Investigation should be done and snothing should be announced. When the war is over then it is time to straighten stuff out. From this point on we will have troops that are afraid to shoot because Washington is watching every shot and does not see with immediate eyes. We have commanders that will fear ordering an action because they may get court martialed if the effects are not politically correct. That fear may not stop some necessary actions but it will delay them, maybe only a minute or two while the captain has a twinge of doubt but that minute or two may well be crucial to the continued existence of his troops.
IT IS TIME TO BRING THE TROOPS HOME and it is time for citizens to seriously improve their private armament.
The USMC courts martial will provide the proof, pro or con.
I don't trust a word printed in NewsMax.
This girl's (12 or 13 yrs. old) story has changed several times at this point:
The story, as relayed in the news media. The court martial will hammer these things out.
That ANYONE would believe the (CHANGING) story of a girl, a "doctor" & "photographer" (both held by US as terrorist sympathizers or worse, thus having a grudge) and the MSM over a Marine is just astounding. So tell me, just what is it that makes you inclined to believe these Marines are coldblooded killers of innocent Iraqi's?
The fact that the USMC is taking these allegations quite seriously. I have absolutely nothing but respect for the military justice system - and, if the servicemen are guilty of what they are alleged to have committed, I want them hung out to dry.
The court martial will determine that. If both those elements are present, then and only then should the USMC come down upon them like the wrath of Almighty God.
We are agreed.
I have a preference, however, to speak of them in terms of their innocense. Call it my military career makes me a softie for troops. Call it my fanaticism about: INNOCENT until proven guilty.
Therefore, every article should be proclaiming their innocense and showing reasons for it. We are their comrades, their supporters, the ones who believe in them, who believe they did not commit crimes.
Let my heart then be terribly broken if my extreme bias toward them is proven wrong.
I trust 99% of the troops - but because of my prosector's bent, I am fanatic about prosecuting that 1% who abuse the military to the fullest extent of the law. If, after a full investigation, it is determined that the Haditha massacre indeed occured (and from the sounds of things, and the way the military is behaving, there is a very real possibility that one occured), then for the good of the service, the military must show no mercy to the servicemen who broke the laws of war. Make an example of them - but only if they actually committed the crime.
Innocent until proven guilty applies only to the jury. It does not apply to the prosecutors. "Where there's smoke, there's fire" will get you bounced off a jury, but it's true enough for prosecutors.
The little girl made a big boo boo and didn't follow the script. Her handlers immediately dismiss her mistake and say she was "confused" when she spilled the beans about knowing about the bomb and covering her ears. She was never asked a follow up question to this new revealing detail like, "what do you mean you knew there was going to be an explosion?" or "how did you know there was going to be an explosion?"
I won't argue the finer points of that statement, because it isn't a constitutional statement.
In that regard, I firmly believe no accused person should be deprived of ANYTHING without due process of law, and that they MUST be assured that they will be able to confront those who are witnesses against them.
Sure he would. Lots of folks would take it as gospel too. The "loathe the military" types.
The Marine Corps is saying only that it would be inappropriate to comment while investigations are underway. But since that Saturday afternoon in November, evidence has been accumulating steadily that the official version was wrong and misleading. The more military investigators learned about what happened that day in Haditha, the more they grew disturbed.
On Nov. 29, the Marine unit in question -- Kilo Company of the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment -- had a memorial service at a Marine base for Lance Cpl. Miguel Terrazas, a well-liked 20-year-old from El Paso, Tex. He was killed in a roadside bomb explosion that appears to have been the trigger for what looks to investigators like revenge shootings of Iraqi civilians. Lance Cpl. Roel Ryan Briones said that Terrazas had been "like a brother to me." Staff Sgt. Travis Fields, Terrazas's platoon sergeant, called him "a man of heart." Not long after the bodies were discovered, Maj. Dana Hyatt, a Marine reservist whose job in part was to work with the civilian population when damage was inflicted by the U.S. military, paid out $38,000 in compensation to the families of the 15 dead. The Iraqis received the maximum the United States offers -- $2,500 per death, plus a small amount for other damage.
Kilo Company did not dwell on what happened Nov. 19. Mike Coffman, who was a Marine Reserve officer in Haditha at the time, recalled that another officer, telling him about the incident, "indicated to me that he thought from the beginning that it was overreaction by the Marines, but he didn't think anything criminal had occurred."
When the Haditha city council met in January for the first time in many months, "none of them [Iraqi members] ever raised it as an issue," said Coffman, who attended the meeting. Rather, he said, they complained about how car and truck traffic in the area had been shut down after two Marines were killed at a checkpoint bombing.
That same month, a top military official arrived in Iraq who would play a key role in the case: Lt. Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, the new No. 2 military officer in the country. He is an unusual general in today's Army, with none of the "good old boy" persona seen in many other top commanders. He had praised an article by a British officer that was sharply critical of U.S. officers in Iraq for using tactics that alienated the population. He wanted U.S. forces to operate differently than they had been doing.
Not long after Chiarelli arrived in Baghdad, an Iraqi journalism student gave an Iraqi human rights group a video he had taken in Haditha the day after the incident. It showed the scene at the local morgue and the damage in the houses where the killings took place. The video reached Time magazine, whose reporters began questioning U.S. military officials. Pool, the Marine captain, sent the reporters a dismissive e-mail saying that they were falling for al-Qaeda propaganda, the magazine said recently. "I cannot believe you're buying any of this," he wrote. Pool declined last week to comment on any aspect of the Haditha incident.
But Army Lt. Col. Barry Johnson, a more senior spokesman in Baghdad, notified Chiarelli of the questions. The general's response to his public affairs office was short: Just brief the Time magazine reporter on the military investigation into the incident that Chiarelli assumed had been conducted.
The surprising word came back: There had been no investigation.
Chiarelli told subordinates in early February he was amazed by that response, according to an Army officer in Iraq. He directed that an inquiry commence as soon as possible. He wanted to know what had happened in Haditha, and also why no investigation had begun.
Army Col. Gregory Watt was tapped to start an investigation and by March 9, he told Chiarelli that he had reached two conclusions, according to the Army officer.
One was that death certificates showed that the 24 Iraqis who died that day -- the 15 the Marines said had died in the bomb blast and others they said were insurgents -- had been killed by gunshot rather than a bomb, as the official statement had said. The other was that the Marine Corps had not investigated the deaths, as is the U.S. military's typical procedure in Iraq, particularly when so many civilians are involved. Individually, either finding would have been disturbing. Together, they were stunning.
On March 10, the findings were given to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Gen. Peter Pace, the first Marine ever to be chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Rumsfeld told aides that the case promised to be a major problem. He called it "really, really bad -- as bad or worse than Abu Ghraib," recalled one Pentagon official. On March 11, President Bush was informed, according to the White House.
Your report gave an inaccurate impression.
The full quote from your link states the following:
"A U.S. military probe has found U.S. forces did nothing wrong in a March raid in the town of Ishaqi in which civilians were killed, saying they "properly followed the rules of engagement," the military said on Friday.
"Allegations that the troops executed a family living in this safe house, and then hid the alleged crimes by directing an air strike, are absolutely false," Maj. Gen. William Caldwell, a senior U.S. military spokesman in Iraq, said in a statement released in Baghdad."
This exoneration and defense were for an incident at another town, at Ishaqi. This quote does not refer to the incident at Haditha.
But i still want an answer about Roberts' treason column.
June 3, 2006
- The Hanford Marine at the center of a military investigation has been charged in a hit-and-run crash in his hometown.
Lance Corporal Ryan Briones is accused of driving a stolen truck while drunk into a house in April. Briones claims he suffers from post traumatic stress disorder after disposing of bodies of 24 Iraqis in the city of Haditha. However, the owner of the damaged home, who's also in the military, says post traumatic stress is a serious condition, but he questions if it's just an excuse.
"My concern is if we move to a point where we utilize that as a legal defense our own actions, at what point do we take responsibility?" said homeowner Craig Dalle.
Felony charges filed against Briones Friday also include possession of marijuana for an arrest in 2003, before he went to Iraq.
Briones is out on bail and expected in court later this month.
Would you care to identify your jurisdiction, so any FReepers there can move to have your license lifted?
As a matter of fact in the military system, it does apply to the prosecutor. The military system, despite Hollywierd mis-portrayals, is not as adversarial as the civilian one has become. The "prosecutor" is after the facts, and assumes innocence until proved guilty. He has an obligation to present the facts, even those which indicate innocence, to the court, not just to the defense.
You sir or mamm, are supposed to do the same. You must be convinced of guilt before you even begin prosecution, after seeing the facts brought to you by the police or other investigators. If you prosecute based on "smoke", you are guilty of prosecutorial abuse. You choose to seek an indictment, or in other cases choose to take the matter to court.
The military system is different in that the convening authority brings the charges, and may do so with or without the advice of the prosecutors. Their job them is to bring out the truth. At least that's the way it worked on the Court Martial I was part of the Court for. The "prosecutor" emphasized that, the "judge" did as well. The Judge's role is considerably different as well, he's there to advise the Court as to what the law and regulations are, he or she does not control the proceedings as a civilian does.
The senior officer controls the proceedings, with the advice of the Judge. In a Court Martial, the members of the Court, who are analgous to the jury, are allowed to ask questions of witnesses, and of the prosecution and defense JAG officers. The Judge too, come to that.
When I was 12 I knew the names of nearly every military vehicle and airplane used in WWII. I had models of them all over my room. I knew more about warfare and military tactics at the age of 12 than I do now.
<< they shot her brother 7 times in the head ... >>
Only flaw with that fine tale is that after shot one there was no more head!
If this guy "disposed" of the bodies, why do the relatives control them? I suspect he helped with the clean up, but this article indicates he was not present, and could not have witnessed the incident. IOW, he could know there were lots of bodies, but not a have any first hand information about what happened, or who killed the Iraqis whose bodies he "disposed of". Since the article indicates that he was ordered to take pictures and then to turn them over to the Navy, that doesn't sound like much of a cover up by the Marines who were there, as soon as the day after the incident.
I was there and can verify your statement. We never knew, until after the facts, who was who, and who wasn't. Always on guard and always watching was our motto, and I'm sure the Marines involved in this operation felt the same way. I cannot believe the Marine Corps General out in San Diego relieving his officers two months after the fact with his B.S. findings. Is it no wonder we are still tying our military's hands behind their backs with a$$kissers like that General? In my book, he should be relieved, not the Captains.
sorry about that post #185 to the wrong recipient.